Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

Insight Medical Genetics offers a wide range of prenatal testing services for our pregnant patients. Chorionic villus sampling, or CVS, is a diagnostic prenatal test typically performed at 10 to 14 weeks of pregnancy. CVS involves removing a small amount of placental tissue, called chorionic villi, which is then tested for chromosome abnormalities or other specific genetic conditions. This placental tissue is expected to have the same genetic makeup as the developing fetus.

Patients Who Can Benefit From a CVS

Any woman who is pregnant and seeking diagnostic information about specific genetic conditions in pregnancy may pursue a CVS through Insight Medical Genetics. CVS is generally considered when a pregnancy has an increased risk for fetal chromosome abnormalities or other genetic conditions. Factors that could put a woman at an increased risk include:

  • Age 35 or older at the time of delivery
  • A positive first trimester screen or cell-free DNA result
  • Findings identified by previous genetic screenings
  • Certain abnormalities identified by ultrasound
  • A history of a previous pregnancy with a chromosome abnormality

CVS Can Help Provide Answers

The results of the CVS are considered to be diagnostic, meaning this procedure can clarify results from screening tests and provide definitive information about certain genetic abnormalities.

If a chromosomal change or other genetic condition is detected, the patient or couple will be counseled about what abnormalities would be expected in a child with this result. This counseling enables the patient to make an informed decision about how to proceed with the pregnancy.

What to Expect

CVS is an outpatient procedure performed by one of Insight’s medical directors over two appointments, typically in a single day. Here’s how it works: 

  • During your first appointment, you will be scheduled for a consultation with a genetic counselor and you may also have blood drawn. 
  • During your consultation, we will review aspects of the CVS procedure and the testing that will be performed. 
  • You will then go to a hospital to have the CVS procedure.   

Though the CVS procedure itself will take only a couple of minutes, we advise that you block off a larger portion of your day for both appointments. Your partner or other support person may accompany you for all portions of the CVS appointment.

There’s typically no need to plan for a recovery period following this procedure. You should be able to resume normal activities, but we suggest that you refrain from heavy lifting, strenuous exercise (such as jogging, aerobics and tennis) and sexual activity for 24-48 hours following the CVS.

Receiving the Results of Your CVS

FISH (fluorescence in situ hybridization) is a laboratory method that we use to get rapid results for the most common chromosome abnormalities. If your CVS procedure is performed in the morning, results of the preliminary FISH analysis are usually available on the same day. You will then be informed of the complete results from the in-depth lab analysis within two weeks. If you are having CVS due to a high risk for another genetic condition, your genetic counselor will discuss the details of your specific testing and timing of results during your consultation.

Scheduling Your CVS

If you are interested in scheduling a CVS, please call us at (312) 981-4400 and we will guide you through the process. Be prepared to provide information about yourself, your pregnancy and your insurance coverage. If you have any additional concerns due to your personal or family history, please inform us of these concerns when you call. Generally, we will call you back within one business day to schedule the CVS.